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Report of the NSF Sponsored Workshop Partnership for Nanotechnology Education at the University of Southern California 26-28 April 2009. Dr. James S. Murday [email protected] 2009 NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Conference. Why a Workshop on Partnership for Nanotechnology Education.

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Report of the NSF Sponsored Workshop

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education

at the University of Southern California

26-28 April 2009

Dr. James S. Murday [email protected]

2009 NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Conference


Why a Workshop on

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education

  • New knowledge incorporated into the educational corpus
  • Nanoscale science and engineering is largely transdisciplinary and
  • challenges traditional education taxonomies
  • The nanoscale holds sufficient novelty to attract STEM interest in students
  • Need for an informed, skilled workforce
  • Workers and members of the general public sufficiently knowledgeable
  • to understand the benefits and risks
  • A wealth of new instructional materials (funded by NSF and others),
  • some of which are available as cyberinfrastructure resources
  • STEM education stakeholder communities marginally engaged in “nano”
  • “Nano” evolving into mainstream S&T and beyond “nano” focused programs
  • “Nano” is presently an “engine for change” – exploit it.

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop


  • Identify and examine the present status of “nano” education efforts (K – Gray),
  • including international perspectives
  • Identify the infrastructure needed to carry out effective “nano” education
  • Lay the groundwork for functional stakeholder partnerships that will
  • address the needs and identify the opportunities
  • Identify mechanisms for the partnerships to provide information for the:
      • National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)
  • Interagency Education Working Group proposed in the NNI 2009
  • reauthorization bills,
      • Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET)
      • Nanotechnology Public Engagement & Communications Working Group
      • Other interested parties to use in developing funding goals, strategies,
      • and programs.

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop


General public

Federal government agencies

State and local education, workforce, and economic development authorities


Industry leadership and workforce

K-12 teachers and administrators

Technical and community colleges

Undergraduate colleges and universities (BS/BA, majors/minors)

Graduate degree universities (MS/PhD)

Continuing education institutions - including industrial, individual, and distance learning

Professional Science and Engineering Societies

Professional groups, such as NSTA, EDUCAUSE, the STEM Education Coalition

Computer and web-based education groups

Publishers and media for outreach


Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Working Groups

tasked with developing recommendations

K-12 Education:

Standards of Learning: Local, State, and National Involvement

Teacher Education and Training

Development of Curricula and Teaching Aids

Post-Secondary Education:

University and Community College

Industry Workforce Needs

Cyber and Virtual Innovation (cross-cutting all categories)

Public Education:

Informal Education: Museums

Press, Radio, Television, and Web-based

Local Community Outreach and Engagement


Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Creation of a NanoEducation Ecosystem

  • Finding:A focal point is needed to identify, validate, and integrate the many NanoEducation capabilities that presently exist and to assess what is additionally needed.
  • Recommendations:
    • The NSET create a Nanotechnology Education and Workforce working group
    • An education and workforce-focused consultative board to the NSET should be
    • created, comprising the various principal stakeholders.
    • National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) funds (or contributions from
    • the various Federal agencies) should be used for this effort.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)
  • NNI participating Federal agencies with education interests
  • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
  • STEM Education Coalition
  • Professional Science and Engineering Societies
  • NanoBusiness Alliance

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Curricula and Teaching Aid Development

  • Finding:To regain prominence in science, technology, and engineering the U.S. must gain a common approach to curriculum development.
  • Recommendation:
    • Funding is needed to allow for the design, development, testing, and
    • implementation of a coherent curriculum that would allow 7 to 16
    • year-old students to develop an integrated understanding of core
    • science ideas that underpin nanoscience and engineering.
    • Such a curriculum would focus on helping students develop
    • progressively deeper understanding of core ideas.
    • Such a process calls for change in the standards that focus on
    • teaching big ideas with a focus on developing a deeper understanding
    • of these ideas.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • NSF, DoEd, and other appropriate Federal agencies
  • NSTA
  • Professional science and engineering societies

Example from a Current

  • High School Physics Standards of Learning (VA)
  • PH.14: The student will investigate and understand that extremely large and extremely small quantities are not necessarily described by the same laws as those studied in Newtonian physics.
    • Though this standard was written in 2003, nanostructure is not mentioned.
    • A 2003 survey of middle and high school science teachers in Kentucky found
    • that only 33% of those science teachers were familiar with the concept of
    • nanotechnology and only 60% of the teachers surveyed were even aware of
    • the concept (18% said that they “understood” it).
    • If ALL students are to be introduced to nano, all teachers must know to teach
    • it – something that requires its inclusion in the standards.
Old (atomic) World

Building Blocks:

109 Elements (→molecules→)

Assembly Rules:

Periodic Table Groupings

Ionic Bonds

Covalent Bonds

“Metallic” Bonds


Atomistic or Continuum

Models explain experiment

New (multi-scale) World

Building Blocks:

Elements/molecules, plus

effectively unlimited variety of quality

dots, clusters, macromolecules

wires, tubes

films, ribbons

Assembly Rules:

Atomic bonding, plus

Van-der-Waal forces

Coulomb forces

Magnetic forces

Molecular recognition

Steric hindrance

Fluid drag


Predict Composition/Structure to get the Desired Property

Where is Nano Taking us?Integrated Science Base forMaterials and Technology by Design:A new Era in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, and Physics

~1750 - 2000

2000 - 2025?


Transition (nano)



Carbon Nanotubes

Quantum Dots Nanoclay Superlattices

Colloidial Devices Block Copolymer Metamaterials Biomimetic

Atomic Layer Epi

Multisize-Scale Supercomputer Projects


Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Learning Standards

  • Finding:The National Governors Association (NGA) has approached Achieve Inc. with the task of preparing common core learning standards in the physical sciences that might be adapted by each state for its own learning standards.
  • Recommendations:
    • The NSET initiate contact with the NGA, the Council of Chief State
    • School Officers (CCSSO), and Achieve Inc. to introduce the nanoscale into
    • the common core standards. (DONE – there is interest in incorporating “nano”
    • into the physical sciences common core)
    • Participants in the many U.S. NanoCenters work with their own State Education
    • Departments toward science learning standard revisions.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • NSF, Department of Education (DoEd)
  • CCSSO, NGA, Achieve Inc.
  • NSET’s Nanotechnology Public Engagement and Communications Working Group (NPEC)
  • Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)
  • NSTA and the state-based affiliates
  • International Technology Education Association (ITEA) and the state-based affiliates
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • National Research Council (NRC)

K-12 Common Standards

NanoEducation Notional Way Forward

  • “Workshop(s)” to develop ideas on what/where/why “nano” concepts should be inserted into college/career readiness standards and into K-12 standards.
  • Work with CCSSO/Achieve Common Core State Standards Process to insert “nano” into College & Career Readiness Standards.
  • Work with CCSSO/Achieve Common Core State Standards Process to insert “nano” into K-12 Standards
  • Curriculum Development
    • Web-based enrichment modules for use in present curricula
    • Information/modules for use with proposed common physical science standards
  • Teacher Training in how to utilize “nano” modules

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Curricula and Teaching Aid Development

  • Finding:The NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSEC) have been very productive at developing innovative approaches to NanoEducation. However, the materials are widely dispersed, are of non-uniform format, and have varying degrees of refinement.
  • Recommendations:
    • The DoEd, working closely with the NSTA and cyber-oriented curriculum
    • developers, create a central web site.
    • The NSTA should serve as the evaluator for quality control to ensure web site
    • materials :
      • are of high quality,
      • are in a format readily utilized by K-12 teachers,
      • are carefully indexed to the various state learning standards, and
      • can be readily accessed from the NSTA web site.
    • Additional well-designed, highly interactive, media-rich, online learning tools
    • should continue to be developed.
    • The pending NNI reauthorization bills provide funds that might be used to
    • address this need.

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Informal Education - Museum

  • Finding:It is timely to develop exhibits and programs associated with the
  • impact of those nano-enabled technologies.
  • Recommendations:
    • NSF should take the lead in establishing links between museums and
    • the national and international research communities for new exhibit
    • development.
    • Other Federal funding agencies and industry representatives must also
    • be contributors since they will be engaged in the translational efforts that
    • lead to technology impact.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • NSF, other relevant mission-oriented Federal funding agencies
  • Museums
  • ASTC
  • NanoBusiness Alliance

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Public Education –

TV, Radio, Press, Books, Magazines, and Web

  • Finding:With the decline in the number of science journalists, there is an opportunity for the NNCO, University and Industrial programs, and other stakeholder groups to develop a continuing stream of information that can inform the public of the benefits and risks emanating from progress at the nanoscale. The rapid growth in information technologies is creating new interaction paradigms that might be exploited using electronic media.
  • Recommendations:
    • Cyber-education should be included in the suite of learning venues to engage
    • students. NSF, with its interest in cyberlearning, should take the initiative but
    • the DoEd must be engaged to ensure a continuing effort.
    • The Wikipedia entries on nanotechnology should be routinely updated and
    • expanded. K-12 science teachers should be involved to ensure the information
    • is structured in ways that can be readily absorbed at the various grade levels.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • NSF, DoEd and other agencies with relevant missions
  • NSTA
  • ASTC

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

University and Community College

  • Finding:Since 40% of college students get their start in community colleges –
  • there need be closer interaction between community colleges and the universities.
  • Recommendation:
    • Foster nanotechnology curricula development and evaluation that is
    • appropriate for community colleges
    • Ensure meaningful collaborations between the community colleges and
    • the NanoCenters.
    • Ensure nanotechnology is included in the DoEd’s Department of College
    • and Career Transitions articulation program
  • Principal Stakeholders:
  • NSF, DoEd, Department of Labor (DoL)
  • Universities
  • National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE)

NanoEducation Provisions in 2009 NNI Reauthorization

(H.R. 554 and S. 1482)

  • Name an OSTP Associate Director as Coordinator for Societal Dimensions
  • NSTC to establish an Interagency Education Working Group under NSET
  • All NNI education efforts to include environmental/safety/health (ESH) and other
  • societal aspects
  • NNCO develop/maintain database for NNI education
  • NSF authorized to fund Nanotechnology Education Partnerships to:
    • Enable professional development activities for secondary school teachers;
    • Enrichment programs for students, including access to facilities;
    • Identify secondary school educational materials and curriculum
  • NSF authorized to fund Undergraduate Education Programs for:
    • Interdisciplinary courses or modules to existing courses
    • Faculty professional development
    • Acquire instrumentation / equipment for education and research
    • Remote internet access by secondary students / teachers to “nano” facilities

Federal Education Programs

with Potential for NanoEducation Interest

NSF Education and Human Resources


DoD National Defense Education Program

DoE Energy Education

National Labs

EPA Teaching Center

NASA Education Program

NIH Office of Science Education





Web sites with NanoEducation Content

American Chemical Society

European Nanotechnology Gateway

Institute of Nanotechnology

McREL Classroom Resources

Multimedia Educ. & Courses in Nanotech

NanoEd Resource Portal


Nanotech KIDS

Nanotechnology News, People, Events



NASA Quest

National S & T Education Partnership


NNI Education Center

NNIN Education Portal

NSF Nanoscience Classroom Resources

PBS – Dragonfly TV

Taiwan NanoEducation

The Nanotechnology Group Inc



Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Curricula and Teaching Aid Development

  • Finding:Some laboratory learning may be beyond the capability and/or budget of local schools and personnel.
  • Recommendations:
    • NNIN, NSEC, DoE NanoCenters, and the National Institute of Standards
    • Technology (NIST) Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology work
    • with the NSTA and the DoEd toward the preparation of on-site and/or remote
    • access to higher end facilities that might contribute to the K-12 education
    • process.
    • The pending NNI reauthorization bills provide funds that might be used to
    • address this need.
  • Finding:Person to person contact remains the most effective approach to education.
  • Recommendations:
    • The various university-based NanoCenters mobilize their undergraduate and
    • graduate students to engage in K-12 education at the nanoscale.
    • Federal funding agencies must provide an adequate budget allowance for
    • this work.
    • Universities must recognize the supervisor faculty efforts in tenure and
    • promotion decisions.

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Teacher Education and Training

  • Finding:Teachers will need to be trained to use the learning resources for K-12 audiences that address nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.
  • Recommendations:
    • The various NanoCenters can be a vital resource to provide materials, training,
    • and information. They should be encouraged to be more proactive toward K-12
    • teacher training.
    • The pending NNI reauthorization bills designate funds that might be used to
    • address this need.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • NSTA
  • DoEd, NSF, other Federal agencies supporting teacher training & workforce development
  • ASTC
  • ITEA

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Industry Needs for Nanotechnology Education

  • Finding:Preparation for employment is an important aspect of the educational
  • process and there will likely be strong competition for nano-trained people between
  • the U.S. and other countries.
  • Recommendation:
    • Department of Labor work with industry groups and with professional science
    • and engineering societies develop accurate assessments of domestic workforce
    • needs, including the effects of growing overseas education and job opportunities.
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • DoL, Department of Commerce (DoC)
  • Professional science and engineering societies
  • NanoBusiness Alliance

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Local Community Outreach and Engagement

  • Finding:The national media plays an important role in informing people. However, local and personal engagement is often more effective.
  • Recommendations:
    • Existing NanoCenters should expand their outreach activities to local
    • and state communities
    • The NSEE forum should be expanded to engage all federally/state
    • funded NanoCenters
  • Principal Stakeholders:
  • ASTC
  • NGA.

Partnership for Nanotechnology Education Workshop

Cyber and Virtual Innovations

  • Finding:The emerging NanoEducation community must be able to exploit existing
  • cyber-infrastructure resource investments more effectively.
  • Recommendations:
    • NNI resources need to be better publicized regarding accessibility, targeted
    • user-levels, customizability both in terms of targeted audiences and user
    • interface, interoperability with other systems, and service and training offerings.
    • Consideration should be given to the research and development of an overall
    • mechanism for efficient search, access, and use of cyber-infrastructure
    • resources focused on nanoscience and technology with potential relevance to
    • education at all levels
  • Principal Stakeholders include:
  • NSF, other Federal agencies with relevant missions
  • NSTA
  • Open Education Resources (OER)
  • NanoTechnology Group Inc.